Skip to main content

Grateful Dead Live at Nassau Coliseum on 1981-05-06

Audio Preview

Grateful Dead Live at Nassau Coliseum on 1981-05-06

Topics Live concert

Alabama Getaway-> Greatest Story Ever Told, They Love Each Other, Cassidy, Jack A Roe-> Little Red Rooster, Dire Wolf-> Looks Like Rain, Big Railroad Blues, Let It Grow-> Deal Minglewood Blues, High Time-> Lost Sailor-> Saint Of Circumstance, He's Gone*-> Caution (Do Not Stop on Tracks) Jam-> Spanish Jam-> Drums-> The Other One-> Goin' Down The Road Feelin' Bad-> Wharf Rat-> Good Lovin', E: Don't Ease Me In

Collection GratefulDead
Band/Artist Grateful Dead
Venue Nassau Coliseum
Location Uniondale, NY

Source Audience Recording: Nak 700's
Lineage NAK-700's > SONY TC-D5M Dolby On, FOB
Taped by Barry Glassberg
Transferred by


NAK-700's > SONY TC-D5M Dolby On taped by Barry Glassberg FOB via Mark Cohen, John Steinthal encoded by Matt Vernon; Note- - this version supercedes a previous shn set from this same source


Reviewer: ycomp - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 16, 2015
Subject: Let It Grow sounds kinda like Roundabout...
Let It Grow sounds kinda like Roundabout...
Reviewer: Mind Wondrin - favoritefavorite - July 24, 2015
Subject: Great Aud
Even though this was released as Dick's #13, this AUD sounds better than much of the official release. This was the first of a 3-day run (and was moved up one day) but was not the best of the run. It would seem it was released solely because there was no SB in circ. The first three songs are lost to sound-level errors on the Board/Official and sound better here, though the band was a mess anyway. Why did Alabama seem to haunt the equipment? The whole first set is floundering, searching for a point where it can come together, except for one sudden perfect Jack-a-Roe that's just stellar.

In the second set the AUD is again better for Minglewood. High Time is all missed cues and sloppiness. Sometimes they went off; sometimes they WERE off. I like the period where they did Sailor>Saint but this isn't one of the top 20 of '81. The whole show is uptempo except for a sludge of a He's Gone. The 27-min jam includes a Spanish, which is why this show tends to get noted. For the first time in the show, the sound is finally right on the SBD and, to a lesser extent, the AUD (which had been better but also improves here). Drums and GDtRFB are the bright spots of the second set.

Jer is bright in spots but it just doesn't seem to gel. Not one of the alltime best (i.e. 5-star) shows. There are much better go-to Spring-81 shows. It wouldn't be honest to say there are 1,800 shows that don't measure up to this one, and less than 500 that do (5-star). (Ironically, Dick's 13 has only the Scarlet>Fire of the better 11-1-79 Nassau show, as a hidden track). The next night was live on the Tom Snyder show.

1st Set:  D
2nd Set: C
Overall: AUD = 2 Stars ; Dick's 13 = 1 Star (probably the worst Dick's Picks)

Jack-a-Roe (sudden tighten up)
Drums (the most unique part of the show)
Goin' Down the Road (2nd sudden tighten up)
Reviewer: kbmill - - July 21, 2015
Subject: bread crumb
Technically speaking, one of only two times New Minglewood Blues was played in a second set.

New,New Minglewood Blues ('66-'74) 3 times
All New Minglewood Blues ('76-'79) 2 times
New Minglewood Blues ('80-'95) 2 times

Even if you don't want to split hairs it's a pretty rare occurance for a song that was played 434 times.
Reviewer: The TRUE Bucky - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 12, 2014
Subject: Raw Dead
I loved when the Dead cut loose and just jammed. Alas, I was born ten years too late and started going to shows in late '79. I did catch a few wild improvisational things and this 'piece' ranks near the top of the list along with the 20 minute TOO from 4/23/83 and the Dark Star (both halves) with Branford on 9/10/91.

As Ice9 and others do such a great job in reviewing song for song, I think I'll try to add a few tidbits that haven't been mentioned yet.

I did every show that May and was pretty well in touch with what the band was doing in '81.

The first thing is the High Time. Yes, it's a tremendous version. I was seeing a number of versions in 80-81, but this one truly stands out. Garcia gets caught up in the moment and throws in an instrumental break in the middle of the song for the first time ever (to my knowledge). The instrumental break remained in the song for the a number of years.

And the famous jam.

Are you aware that the Spanish Jam did not just 'pop out' that night after 5 years? It actually 'popped up' the previous night in Glens Falls after Truckin.... You can hear Bob start a few bars of it near the end of the jam before Jerry goes into Alabama Getaway of all things.

And the jam itself, I never understood why it's divided into two parts, 'Caution' & 'Spanish' when it's three distinct jams: Caution; Other One & then Spanish.

Dick Latvala says in his 'Daedbase' review that 'things relax' after the Caution Jam before entering the Spanish Jam, but I'd hardly call the Other One Jam 'relaxing'. It's got a Spanishy tone to it (something Garcia would commonly blend in '82-'83 out of space, but unique here in '81). At one point, the guitarists are going so wild, Bob starts playing some notes that sound like the beginning of Sugar Mag. That would've been something. Right after that, Jerry and Bob do a serious meltdown that reaches Tiger-like heights. All in all, it's 5 of he best minutes of wild Other One improve I've ever heard.

Then, it stops and the drums start. For a second or two.

At this point, I do believe this jam would still be considered one of the greatest He's Gone jams ever played.

But, instead of the drums, Jerry starts The Spanish Jam and elevates this jam to legendary status.

After the drums, note there's no 'space'. It's a Drums from the rack-driven jam. My God, was this great live! I thought they were going to do Aiko but veer off into a raging TOO. To follow this up with GDTRFB instead of a slow Jerry tune for the first time in years was so GREAT as a dancer back then. :^)

(btw: the next night's drums/space sounds like Aiko too, but they waited 4 more shows to play it).

This is a 5 star show in ANY era.
Reviewer: DeadReckoning - - January 30, 2014
Subject: Coming up Roses..........
Ahh.....a fine early 80's show for sure. Brent coming into his own. Weir dedicates He's Gone to Bobby Sands an IRA political prisoner.

Second set takes flight at He's Gone>Caution>Spanish Jam>Drums/Space>Other One..... and this is a show I'll be coming back to again for a closer listen.
And a fine audience recording.

Reviewer: clementinescaboose - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 22, 2014
Subject: Classic 80s Dick's Pick
I've never really heard this recording, but I've enjoyed the official release of this show for quite some time (DP 13). The first set IMO is just as good as the second, with some nice versions of TLEO, Cassidy, Jack-a-Roe, and LLR, and a smokin' LIG>Deal to close. The set 2 medley, of course has the famous Caution/Spanish jams (the final Caution ever) and a lot of other great tunes. Quite worthy of official release, though admittedly, my favorite pick of the 80s is probably vol. 32 (Alpine 8-7-82).
Reviewer: lilrichwhiteboy - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 15, 2013
Subject: Finally, A Grrreat F.O.B. ... Thank Goodness !!!
One of the hottest shows ever done. And with an AUD like this, who needs Dick? Not me. While I was scrolling down 1981, I was praying SOMEONE had uploaded a good FOB of this night. Well, my prayers were answered. Finally. Because I have not been all that thrilled with most of the AUDs that have been "archived". I am an audience maven. I love the crowd. And I prefer a little reverb with the vocals being lower in the mix. And It's all there! It's one of the best FOB's I've ever heard of one of the best shows ever done. Thank you so very much Mr. Glassberg, et al...and Mr. Aizen for uploaded it. It's at the top of my rotation.
Reviewer: Sir-Mix-Alot - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 31, 2013
Subject: He's Gone > Caution > Spanish
Holy Smokes! He's Gone > Caution > Spanish Jam is simply breathtaking. The band continues fine improv with the Space > Other One intro jam. Very nice!

Sweet recording by Barry Glassberg. Almost everything he taped in the early 80's is worth a listen. He also taped a wonderful Palladium show May 3, 1977. Check it out.
Reviewer: darazn1 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 11, 2011
Subject: This show certainly changes...
There are some spectacular moments up through Saint of Circumstance, but the pace is often rushed, Jerry is constantly playing catch-up with the band, missing cues and blowing notes. Dynamics lack unity, and Weir cuts off Jerry on some choice solos. Deal has a good jam, but there is so much substandard music here. High Time has a number of flubs, but good vocals.

But right up around the charge-up in Saint of Circumstance, something clicks. The whole band just wails! Flails! They lock in.

Bobby makes a dedication, and the music suddenly finds a reason and a purpose, and Jerry shows up 110%! He's Gone> to the end of the night is the Grateful Dead at the height of their powers. Every note treated with intention. It's amazing how they can show up as a second-rate band, and by the end of the night, there's none better. How's that?

It's quite amazing what happens when you shut off the car radio and throw headphones on! LOL!
Reviewer: feather0926 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 7, 2011
Subject: 30 years later...
and this show still smokes. The stacatto Spanish Jam still raises my arm hairs. BTW the auds are just as good (if not better) than Dicks Picks XIII. It deserves 10 stars SIMPLY SUPERB!!!!!!!!
Reviewer: ice9freak - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 20, 2011
Subject: Simply killer
I guess my ears may be pickier than I suppose. After reading all of the laudatory comments for this FOB, I was expecting to be knocked-out, but I actually find the sound to be a bit tinny and the drums (except for the cymbals) and vocals hard to distinguish. After a song or two, you can hear Healy’s live mix improve, and it may be safe to assume that Glassberg makes some positive adjustments as well. As my ears adapted, this recording became very listenable. It doesn’t hurt that this show contains some of the hottest Garcia fretwork of ’81 (if not the decade). The first set has plenty of sparkle, with exemplary versions of Jack-A-Roe, Dire Wolf, and Let it Grow. This version of Let it Grow is particularly inspired and serves as a premonition of the huge jamming that’s unleashed in set two.

After the boys take a breather, Minglewood opens the second set. I know what you’re thinking: not the most exciting choice. Don’t be fooled—the band is taking its time. High Time follows, and it’s a very strong version, perhaps the best since the fertile ’69-’70 period of this tune’s history. Garcia’s vocals find that plaintive, soulful zone that delivers chills. Sailor>Saint follows and I dare anyone to point me toward a hotter version. Bobby flat out kills the vocals and the build-up in Saint is pure joy. If this version doesn’t get your euphoria flowing, consult your local witchdoctor or gypsy woman immediately. Before He’s Gone, Weir dedicates the performance to IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands who died on May 5. This He’s Gone is superbly played, but the jamming that follows is what sets this show apart. A freewheeling Caution Jam bleeds into Spanish Jam. Jerry is in incredible form, and at points you can hear the band straining to keep up with him. Anything else I might say about these two jams would do them a disservice. I’ll just say that if you haven’t heard them yet, you need to. Right now.

A raging Other One emerges from Space and it’s clear that the boys are still in it to win. The rest of this show is very strong. Listening to the Dead for extended periods of time can leave me semi-immune to songs like GDTRFB and Good Lovin’, but the versions here are excellent. Wharf Rat is also a notch better than other versions from this era and even the much-maligned Don’t Ease Me In gets the royal treatment.

Overall, this is a show that every serious listener needs to hear more than once. In my mind it sets the bar for creativity and improvisation quite high, and the Grateful Dead only approach such levels again when MIDI enters the picture in the late 80’s. I haven’t heard the board of this show that constitutes Dick’s Picks Volume 13, but I’ll be tracking it down. I’ll give this a five star rating, but if the option were there, I’d take half a star away for my minor reservation about the sound. God bless you, Mr. Glassberg!
Reviewer: FrankFoster - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 19, 2010
Subject: Get DP13
Good choice for a Dicks Picks from the early eighties! 81 had some great highlights this 2nd set is one of them. Great Caution, love the high time and Wharf Rat
Reviewer: mikeyank99 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 24, 2009
Subject: dicks picks
u cant hear anything on dps this is the show of all shows in 81 i was at this show and all the east coast shows aud recording 100 times better then dps hot hot hot
Reviewer: Darrylizer - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 11, 2007
Subject: A very strong show
No wonder this became a Dick's Pick. Half the time with the Picks I scratch my head in wonder and ask myself now why did they choose this show? This one deserves it, smoking from start to finish, but a monster of a second set with some lightning fast Jerry guitar. Not the greatest aud I've heard but servicable. I just wish the drums and Jerry's vocals were a bit louder, can't blame that on the taper but on the mix. Jerry and Bobby's guitars are both clear as a bell though. A hot hot show.
Reviewer: JohnnyBones - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 13, 2006
This show crackled with energy on the stage and in the seats. I remember walking from the Hempstead bus terminal to the Coliseum for this one, a youth of 17 with a 64oz 7 up bottle filled with beer. If I remember correctly, part of the adhoc pre show entertainment was a 'head' balancing sneakers and champagne bottles (yes, a glass one. times have changed) on his nose. A stand out show, Jerry on fire - the best JackARoe ever, great sustain in Rooster. Listen for his "OH!" after the last "...don't murder me!"
Reviewer: St.Stephen71 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 26, 2006
Subject: good taping
cool spanish jam
Reviewer: screamingzonker - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 21, 2006
Subject: Forget Dick's Picks
This recording adds all the spice missing from Dick's version. I've listened to them side by side and it can't be compared. Every venue added its own timbre, good or bad, and this recording captures the night as it played back and forth between the boys and their faithful to perfection. Hats off to the tapers. I made fun of your stoic decorum at shows for years but now i take my hat off.
Reviewer: NTC - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 26, 2006
Subject: Damn fine stuff
HOT show + real nice AUD tape = Damn fine stuff.

I try to use the 5 star ratings sparingly, but this comes close.
Reviewer: mailman1 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 17, 2005
Subject: good aud?
what are you listening to dude? this is sweet . barry knows his stuff. my compliments to the chef!
Reviewer: august_west420 - favoritefavoritefavorite - July 1, 2005
Subject: Good AUD?
I love a good AUD over a SBD anyday...but this one sounds like it was taped in the Nassau Coliseum bathroom!!! How is this good quality?
Reviewer: BustedFlat - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 4, 2005
Subject: fantastic AUD
This AUD absolutely sparkles! I'm in agreement with everything that's been said so far. Just thought I'd mention the absolutely impeccable High Time. I can't think of a finer version.
Reviewer: gaZeebo - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 20, 2005
Subject: !WoW!
Killer FOB, and the band just TAKES OFF after He's Gone...

I like the sound on this one better than the dry sbd that has been released as Dicks Picks...
Reviewer: nyc oldie - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 18, 2005
Subject: Fun Show
I attended this show. It was smoking the whole way as I recall. The spanish jam thing freaked me out at the time, had no idea what it was.
Reviewer: KidKoala - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 28, 2004
Subject: Great FOB
gotta agree with richwhiteboy, this recording is great. A- sound quality , solid A show qualtiy
Reviewer: happytrails - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 18, 2004
Subject: Great Show
Great Jam after He's Gone, and the whole second set rips.
Its one of the Dick's Picks - go buy it.
In Collection
Grateful Dead
In Collection
Live Music Archive
Uploaded by
Jonathan Aizen
on 4/26/2004
SIMILAR ITEMS (based on metadata)
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 36,303
favorite 36
comment 33
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 33 reviews )
Source: Audience Recording: Sennheiser 421's
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 3,284
favorite 6
comment 1
( 1 reviews )
Source: Sennheiser 421's > Sony TC-D5 > MAC (> likely Nakamichi Dragon > HHB CDR) > CD
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 9,890
favorite 3
comment 2
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 2 reviews )
Source: Soundboard
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 23,928
favorite 10
comment 8
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 8 reviews )
Source: Audience Recording: Nak 700's
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 12,183
favorite 5
comment 4
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 4 reviews )
Source: Audience Recording: Nak 700's
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 117,456
favorite 158
comment 42
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 42 reviews )
Source: Soundboard (Nawrocki)
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 41,062
favorite 10
comment 1
favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 1 reviews )
Source: Audience Recording
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 19,035
favorite 3
comment 1
favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 1 reviews )
Source: Audience Recording: Sennheiser 421's
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 15,200
favorite 15
comment 7
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 7 reviews )
Source: SBD PCM > DAT > Sonic Solutions > CD
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 27,084
favorite 18
comment 20
favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 20 reviews )
Source: Soundboard